Billings, Montana. (AP) — The Biden administration announced on Wednesday that it would draft rules to control the killing of wild birds by industry and resume enforcement measures against companies responsible for death that could have been prevented. This is a long-standing practice that ended under President Donald Trump. This move came about as the
Billings, Montana. (AP) — The Biden administration announced on Wednesday that it would draft rules to control the killing of wild birds by industry and resume enforcement measures against companies responsible for death that could have been prevented. This is a long-standing practice that ended under President Donald Trump.
This move came about as the number of birds in North America plummeted dramatically in recent decades. Its decline was interrupted by Wednesday news that the famous ivory woodpecker and 22 other species were extinct.
Conservation groups urging President Joe Biden to take stronger actions to protect wildlife say there is an urgent need for planned rules to hold businesses accountable for bird deaths. rice field.
However, the government’s announcement was immediately countered by the oil industry, which is the subject of the most prosecuted charges under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Most notable was the $ 100 million settlement by energy company BP after government investigators concluded that the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill killed about 100,000 birds.
The American Revolutionary Petroleum Association said resuming prosecution would harm companies that killed birds “without their own negligence.”
Malori Miller, Vice President of Public Relations for the Petroleum Industry Group, said:
Federal authorities have promised to be wise in enforcing violations of bird law 100 years ago.
Jerome Ford, assistant director of migratory birds at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said the company could foresee the death of a bird, but enforcement is reserved in case no action is taken to avoid it. rice field.
In developing the new rules, Ford said authorities would look at a variety of causes of death, from collisions with glass buildings, power lines and vehicles, to chemical poisoning and birds killed in oil fields. Hundreds of millions of birds die each year from such causes, according to government officials and researchers.
“We have lost about 3 billion birds in the last 50 years,” Ford said. “We want to create a common-sense approach that works to protect birds and provide regulatory certainty to the industry.”
The migratory bird policy was one of the dozens of environmental actions during the Trump era that Biden ordered to reconsider on his first day in office. Former federal officials, environmental groups, and Democrats in Congress said many of Trump’s rules were aimed at benefiting the private industry at the expense of conservation.
The treaty covers more than 1,000 species of North American birds, from fast-flying falcons to small songbirds to more than 20 species of owls. Some hunting birds, such as exotic species and wild turkeys, are not on the list.
Former federal officials and some scientists said that under Trump’s control, billions more birds could have died in the coming decades.
Researchers say American cats kill the most birds — more than 2 billion birds annually.
In addition to the BP case, hundreds of enforcement cases involving utilities, oil companies and wind energy developers imposed a total of $ 5.8 million in fines and civil penalties between 2010 and 2018. ..
Enforcement will resume after Wednesday’s actions take effect within 60 days, officials said.
According to wildlife authorities, most companies are willing to take steps to address the potential dangers their activities pose to birds, resulting in a relatively small number of enforcement cases ending in prosecution.
The court was divided as to whether the company could be prosecuted for unintended bird death.
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